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Monday, August 29, 2011


1.  Collier
1. A coal miner.
2. A ship for carrying coal. 
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English col (coal). Earliest documented use: before 1375. 
USAGE: "Gunar turned to find a grimy-faced man, black as a collier."

2.  Wainwright
MEANING: noun: One who builds or repairs wagons. 
ETYMOLOGY: From Old English waen/waegen (wagon) + wryhta/wyrhta (worker). Earliest documented use: around 1000. 
USAGE: "Macon engaged a wainwright to build one of the great wagons."

3.   Chandler
 MEANING: noun:
1. One who makes or sells candles.
2. A dealer or supplier in other goods, for example, a ship chandler. 
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin candela (candle), from candere (to shine). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kand- (to shine) which is also the source of incense, incandescent, candid, candida, and candidate (in reference to white togas worn by Romans seeking office). Earliest documented use: 1389. 
USAGE: "The sisters at Deepdale were lucky to have received a request for beeswax from a chandler in York."

  4. Adumbrate
PRONUNCIATION: (a-DUM-brayt, AD-uhm-brayt)  
MEANING: verb tr.:
1. To foreshadow.
2. To give a rough outline or to disclose partially.
3. To overshadow or obscure. 
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin umbra (shade, shadow), which also gave us the words umbrella, umbrage, and somber. Earliest documented use: 1599. 
"Mr Cameron should adumbrate painful decisions; he should sketch out the principles that will inform them; but he should not be drawn into spelling out what exactly they will be."
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"To create her three-dimensional composition, Robin Osler variedly manipulated floor and ceiling planes so as to adumbrate virtual spaces."

5.   Ravel
verb tr. intr.:
1. To fray or to become disjoined; to untangle.
2. To entangle or to become tangled. 
ETYMOLOGY: From Middle Dutch ravelen (to fray out), from ravel (loose thread). Earliest documented use: before 1540. 
USAGE: "Ministries like the Gathering Place always run on a shoestring. In today's economic climate, the shoestring is raveling."

6.  Micawber
MEANING: noun: An eternal optimist. 
ETYMOLOGY: After Wilkins Micawber, an incurable optimist in the novel David Copperfield (1850) by Charles Dickens. Earliest documented example of the word used allusively: 1852. 
USAGE: "As the shadow work-and-pensions secretary, David Willetts, said yesterday, he takes the Mr Micawber approach to economics: something will turn up."

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